Boyfriend sleeps at ex-wife's house for kids' sake

By Hoa   December 31, 2022 | 05:36 pm PT
I am 35 years old, divorced for two years, with no children of my own. My boyfriend is 37 years old, divorced for a year, and has two children with his ex-wife.

We met a year after his divorce. The first time I met him, I felt like he was the person I'd been waiting for. We'd both been through failed marriages, and we were both old enough and had had enough experience to feel in tune with each other. We knew each other’s situations when we got together and didn’t lie about anything.

His children live with his ex-wife. They’re an eight-year-old girl and a fifteen-year-old boy. My boyfriend visits his children on weekends or when he has free time during the week. He takes them on walks, plays badminton with them, and he teaches them things.

My boyfriend has always been honest with me when he visits his children. To me, he is a responsible and loving father. I’ve never had a problem with him visiting his kids. I’ve never felt jealous of or interfered with his time with his children.

He and his ex-wife don't want their children to feel bad about their parents' divorce, so they still pretend to be a peaceful family. The children don't know that their parents are divorced. My boyfriend has moved out but still comes back from time to time to visit his children and stay overnight with them. When he leaves to return home, he tells his children that he’s going on business trips.

What makes me feel sad and heartbroken is that during the Tet holiday this year, my boyfriend plans to take his ex-wife and their children on a vacation for a few days, mainly for the children to have fun in a family atmosphere. He said there would be nothing going on between him and his ex-wife.

Hearing all this makes me really sad, but I can't complain, can't get angry, can't be jealous or interfere. My boyfriend said he wants to create a happy family atmosphere for his children, who are the innocent victims of their parents’ divorce. How can I say anything to that?

When I accept a man who is divorced and has his own children, I know I have to accept the fact that he has to go back and forth to his ex-wife's house to visit his children and share his duties as a parent, such as picking the kids up from school, teaching them, and taking care of them until they grow up.

I can be ok with those things, but I don’t think I’m ready to accept that he has to stay at his ex-wife's house and go out with her and the children. Surely in the future there will be many more trips like this because he wants to wait for his children to grow up before giving them the chance to understand their parents’ divorce. He and his ex-wife will act as a peaceful family until then.

I told him I feel sad and distressed when he and his ex-wife and children go out together. He said he would try to end this phase of their relationship as soon as next year. But he also said he was uncertain he’d be able to do so.

I'm struggling mentally, I really don't know what to do.

If I continue a relationship with this man, it means I have to accept that he sometimes has to go to his ex-wife's house to sleep and go out with her and the children. And I don’t want to end this relationship because I truly love him.

He is also struggling mentally. If we continue, it will only make me miserable because I have to make many sacrifices. If he wants to stop hurting me, he will have to come clean to his children, which will hurt them instead. I feel like I’m the one making decisions in this relationship, because he is probably not ready to tell the children the current state of their parents’ relationship.

His son is 15 years old, an immature and rebellious age. He is afraid that his son will be psychologically unstable and end up neglecting his studies. That’s why he still hesitates to tell his children about their parents’ divorce.

I don’t know what I should do. Any advice is appreciated.

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